Vision caught up with events designer Amy Hawke who has worked all over the world from London to Dubai, creating high-profile events for prestigious international clients. Her spaces and experiences are marked by attention to detail and innovative designs inspired by street life
Q What first attracted to the medium of event design?
A As a child, I was constantly drawing plans, painting walls, arranging and rearranging my bedroom. I gravitated towards events as it was an amazing opportunity to design theatrical event set-ups on a weekly basis. Each event is different and presents new challenges
Q How do you go about constructing an event, are the smaller details important to you?
A I start with the BIG idea, the central feature that all other décor relates back to. When you’re designing a big event, you need to think big to create an atmosphere. Then the smaller details become important. The quality of table linens, the flowers on the table – these are super-important and make the difference between a good event and a spectacular event
Q What sources do you draw on for inspiration?
A The multitude of design blogs combined with sites like Pinterest make fresh ideas unbelievably accessible. I regularly use these resources for inspiration, but I try not to get too caught up in seasonal trends. I like to look at classic designs and then experiment with new colours, finishings or fabrics to maintain originality
Q You’ve worked with some high-profile names as part of your career, have you ever found yourself star stuck?
A I think my Kiwi nature prohibits me from getting too carried away by the notion of celebrity culture. Saying that, I recently did an event in London at a very well-known recording studio, and I was so inspired by the history of the venue and the significance of all the artists who have ever recorded there. One of my favourite bands was there sound-checking and I couldn’t help but think, wow, I love my job
Q What has been your most challenging event so far? Have you ever worried that an event would not come together in time?
A I’ve had huge events cancelled as trucks full of flowers are about to be delivered. I used to worry about these things, but you can’t control the elements. The best you can do is ride out the roller coaster when things get hectic. There are always going to be problems to solve and that’s part of the enjoyment. At the end of the day, I am designing and producing events that are supposed to be fun
In Dubai, I have been super-fortunate to work on such a high calibre of events that demand such a huge input of creativity and attention to detail
Q You’ve lived in the UAE for over nine years now, what first attracted you to move to the Emirates, Dubai in particular?
A After 10 years working in London, I was ready for a new adventure. During this time, I came across Harlequin, who were looking for an event designer. They flew me out to Dubai and I was blown away by the buzz of the city, the grand scale of the events and, of course, the sunshine. I packed up my flat and moved there a few weeks later
Q What has been your most memorable event you have worked on so far?
A One particular Dubai World Cup Long Weekend involved three events in three days for 450 international guests. These events all required bespoke structures and furniture, lots of carpentry, custom tailoring, endless floral sampling. In Dubai, I have been super-fortunate to work on such a high calibre of events that demand such a huge input of creativity and attention to detail